To successfully scale up your sustainable fashion business, the first thing you need to do is sharpen your brand messaging to highlight your brand DNA, sustainability focus and strengths. Next, evolve sourcing, production and operational processes by regularly engaging in research and development. Finally, leverage being a part of a community to open up your options for growth.
Here’s how to make it happen…
- Hone Your Brand Messaging.
What makes your brand sustainable? The word “sustainable” can get pretty broad in fashion and it takes on different meanings from business to business. Are you providing sustainable career opportunities to artisans in one or a few regions of the world? Do you use sustainable fabrics and/or production methods? Do you invest in your local community, producing in the USA? Organic, fair trade… they can all fall beneath the sustainable umbrella.
Savvy customers want to know what you’re about. Spell it out for them. Let them know what sustainability means as it pertains to your brand. And if you happen to cover a couple of these points (or others), narrow down 1-2 points that really stand for your brand and let those be the ones that adhere to your brand DNA. Keep on doing everything else, that’s wonderful. But don’t overwhelm audiences or dilute your message by promoting too many angles of your sustainable characteristics at once.
A niche is super important and it has to be apparent in all of your messaging in an organic way (no pun intended). So be authentic and make storytelling work for you. Bring your sustainable story to life and into the limelight as you inspire customers through ad campaigns, social posts and more.
- Focus on Research & Development (R&D).
Technology advances at lightning speed these days – and not just for your computers and smartphones. Stay up to date with what’s new and what’s best, when it comes to building sustainable practices into your business.
Do your due diligence to discover new technology and systems. The quality keeps on getting better and prices are becoming more affordable. There are also a lot of fabrics and fabric treatments to discover. Today’s sustainable fabrics look stunning and feel really luxurious. Choose from organic cotton, organic linen, Tencel, bamboo and more.
Read trade publications, attend trade shows, communicate with manufacturers, keep up to date with sourcing and manufacturing trends and see what more established sustainable fashion brands are introducing to the space.
Keep your ear on the ground!
- Become Part of a Community.
If you’re a Maker’s Row member, you already understand the power of community- an especially important consideration for sustainable brands. Besides increasing access to important resources, you can save a lot of money. I love the PACT Organic concept, for example. Sustainable brands go in with other manufacturers to buy organic cotton yields. They get the cotton directly from the source (the farmers) which reduces the costs as well as the cost savings of purchasing in such huge quantities. Collective buys also take you closer to your suppliers and allow you to enjoy more transparent sourcing.
A lot of brand owners think scaling up comes down to doubling or tripling their efforts on what they’ve already been doing. This can’t be further from the truth! Scaling up calls for new, thoughtful strategies specifically customized for your brand’s growth. Contact Scaling Retail for bespoke solutions and execution support. We’re here for you for anything from capacity building and hiring to market entry strategy or an e-commerce launch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a 30 minute consultation or call 310-957-5264.